A Conversation with Odette
This Saturday, we’ll be hosting a trunk show for one of our favorite jewelry brands, Odette, at our Nolita Women’s shop. If you’re in New York, stop by 230 Elizabeth Street to meet designer Jennifer Sarkilahti and check out some of her new designs. We recently caught up with Jennifer to talk shop:
You’ve lived in Williamsburg and Greenpoint for several years. What do you love about your neighborhood?
There’s a great energy here and it seems like everyone you meet is doing something creative and interesting. I live across the park from our studio so it’s nice to be able to walk to work and experience a small dose of nature every day.
Although the area is changing all the time, I love that it’s still small enough to feel like a neighborhood. When I stop at the coffee stand on the way to work, it’s the same guy making coffee every morning and it’s nice to see a familiar face.
We like that your jewelry is delicate and unobtrusive, but each piece is rich with organic, hand carved detail. What’s your design philosophy?
I am very passionate about the process and creating new work. I love to experiment, even when I end up tossing out half of the attempts. I don’t have any real design philosophy; I just try to push forward with my designs to keep things interesting.
You studied painting, and have described the wax casting process you use as being similar to sculpture. How did you make the transition from fine art to jewelry design, and how do you feel your art background informs your work?
As a recent Fine Arts grad, I started making jewelry as a side project from my painting. Initially, I was attracted to it more as a hobby than as a form of artistic expression but eventually it just took over, as it allowed me to be more wildly creative than painting ever had.
Mainly, I really fell in love with the craft of the wax carving process. The wax is cast into metal exactly as it is carved, so my favorite part is that you can see every tiny mark made by the hand in the final piece.
Travel serves as a source of inspiration for many of the designers we’ve spoken with. What is it about traveling, and exploring the unfamiliar, that sparks your creativity?
Traveling allows me to observe and see things through a new perspective. It can really be a challenge to be constantly designing new collections so travel helps me clear my head so I can absorb inspiration and come up with fresh ideas.
Tell us about some of your most memorable trips. Any new adventures on the horizon?
Traveling to Greece and Turkey a few years ago was so visually inspiring that I still think about some of the imagery I saw when I was there. In Istanbul, we stayed in the historic part of the city near the Blue Mosque and the Hagia Sophia. We would sit on the rooftop on the hotel every night and watch the swallows swoop around the spires of the mosques at dusk.
I am traveling to Maui for the first time next month and I’m really looking forward to hitting the beaches and taking in the beautiful scenery.
Many thanks to Jennifer! You can find Odette jewelry in our retail stores and web shop. If you’d like to come by the trunk show at our Nolita shop, please RSVP to fwinters (at) stevenalan.com.
Studio photos by Re Jin Lee; Fall/Winter 2013 Lookbook photos by Tamara SchlesingerThis entry was posted on Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013 at 3:49 pm and is filed under Events, In Stock. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.comments closed +SHARE
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